ottawa GGs

QUARTER-FINAL #2: CIS women’s basketball championship

CALGARY (CIS) – A game full of momentum swings saw the third-seeded Ottawa Gee-Gees come back to knockoff the No. 6 Saskatchewan Huskies 73-70 in overtime in the second quarter-final of the CIS women’s basketball Final 8 on Saturday afternoon at the University of Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gym.

Championship website: 

Ottawa will now play No. 2 UBC in a semifinal match-up on Sunday at 5 p.m. Mountain, live on Shaw TV, NBA TV Canada, and It will mark the Gee-Gees’ first-ever semifinal appearance in their fifth trip to the CIS tournament.

The OUA champion Gee-Gees fell behind in the second quarter by as much as 20 (38-18) before a third quarter rally put them in position to tie the game in the fourth quarter. In overtime Ottawa took control early and held on against a couple of late three-pointers by Saskatchewan.

Ottawa native Jenna Gilbert scored 20 points and was named game MVP for the winners. Fifth-year post Hannah Sunley-Paisley, who was named CIS player of the year on prior to the tourney, had a game-high 21 points with six rebounds.

The Huskies, who received the at-large berth to get to the Final 8, seemed to be completely different teams in the first and second halves. Kiera Lyons, from Ryley, Alta., scored 17 points to lead the team. Mary Hipperson and Kabree Howard, both of Regina, each netted 12.

Saskatchewan, which reached the national final for the first time in program history a year ago, will resume play on the consolation side of the draw, starting Sunday at noon against No. 7 McGill.

Leading 15-13 after the first quarter, the Huskies opened the second frame with a 15-0 run en route to a 38-22 halftime advantage. Back from the break, it was the Gee-Gees who scored the first 11 points and after 30 minutes it was 46-40 Saskatchewan.

“I think the two or three hoops we got at the end of the first half were key for us,” said Ottawa head coach Andy Sparks. “We’ve been down this year probably five or six times like that and came back, so the girls didn’t have a major urgency issue. We felt that we could do it, but you’re doing it against a very good team.”

“It was the first six minutes in the third quarter that was our undoing when we couldn’t score,” said Saskatchewan head coach Lisa Thomaidis when talking about the drastic difference in halves. “The dagger was us being unable to make our three-throws.”

Both teams came into the game full of headlining players who were honoured at the All-Canadian Awards Gala on Friday night. Among the winners was Sunley-Paisley, who received the Nan Copp Award. Her leadership was evident on court helping the Gee-Gees to their comeback despite fouling out during overtime.

The first quarter saw both teams come out and play a very tight game. Ottawa was able to get more shots off, but couldn’t burry as many as they would have hoped as they trailed Saskatchewan 15-13.

The Huskies broke open the tight game in the second as they started the quarter on a 15-point run which lasted until the Gee-Gees ended it with a basket with just over five minutes to go till the break. Saskatchewan was in front 38-22 going after the first half.

After falling behind in the second quarter, the Gee-Gees came out hard in third as they worked to cut the deficit to as low as five. With the support of a valley of green Saskatchewan fans in the crowd, the Huskies were able to fend off the Ottawa attack and maintain a 46-40 lead going into the final quarter.

An exciting fourth quarter saw Ottawa bring the game even closer as they battled for their first lead since the first quarter. The comeback would be completed with just over two minutes remaining. After the Huskies tied the score, the Gee-Gees had a chance to end the game with a last minute bucket, but wouldn’t fall as the game went into overtime.

Ottawa started the extra session with a quick three-pointer and went on to open up a sizable lead on their opponent. In the final minute the Gee-Gees desperately tried to keep it a two-possession game, but the Huskies replied twice with shots for three. Time would eventually end on Saskatchewan’s opportunities as Ottawa wrapped up the win.

“We know we’re in for a tough one with UBC. I said coming into this, I thought they were playing just about the best in the country, so we know we’re going to get a real test against them,” explained Sparks as he looked towards his team’s next match-up.

Saskatchewan’s field goal shooting went from 56.0% in the first half to 26.3% in the second. Ottawa’s shooting trended the opposite way going from 32.3% to 45.9% in the latter half.

The Huskies out-rebounded their opponent 41-39 and maintained a 42.9 field goal percentage, compared to Ottawa’s 40.8.


Boxscore: Ottawa-Sask

Scoring by quarter:

OTT 13-9-18-19-14: 73 (OT)

SSK 15-23-8-13-11: 70


Points: Hannah Sunley-Paisley (21), Jenna Gilbert (20), Kellie Ring (13)

Rebounds: Maddie Stephen (8), Hannah Sunley-Paisley (6)

Assists: Kellie Ring (7)

Player of the game: Jenna Gilbert


Points: Kiera Lyons (17), Mary Hipperson (12), Kabree Howard (12)

Rebounds: Dalyce Emmerson (10), Mary Hipperson (4), Katie Miyazaki (4)

Assists: Kabree Howard (2), Katie Miyazaki (2)

Player of the game: Kiera Lyons